Jun 12, 2024

Fajardo, SMB gang get back at Bolts yet again

JUNE Mar Fajardo shared his latest BPC award with his teammates, calling all of them at midcourt during the simple awards rites.

Then as a newly minted Conference MVP, Fajardo stepped forward and gave his team a huge lift as San Miguel Beer once again equalized with Meralco with a 111-101 victory in Game Four of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

"Sa isip ko wala pa akong na-achieve, wala pa akong napanalo, kaya lagi akong gutom," said the Kraken, exploding for a personal series-high of 28 points that went with 13 rebounds and one assist.

In enduring a continued tough battle with the Bolts, Fajardo also improved his free throws with 10-of-12 and finished the game without a single error.

It would be remembered that he committed crucial errors and fouled up from the line in their 93-89 loss in Game Three.

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With their backs against the wall, CJ Perez and Marcio Lassiter also delivered as the Beermen foiled the Bolts' attempt at getting to the hill.

Instead, the two teams are again back to scratch, disputing the pivotal go-ahead win in Game Five also at the Big Dome Friday.

Perez came through with a solid all-around game with 22 points, eight rebounds and six assists while Lassiter knocked in four three-pointers and finished with a total of 18 as the Beermen put to naught Chris Newsome's career-high 40 points.

With a big starting unit in Fajardo, Lassiter, Perez, Chris Ross and Moala Tautuaa, the Beermen came up with a big, strong start, opening up an early double-digit spread before taking the first quarter at 29-22 and the half at 51-40.

The Bolts kept fighting back but the Beermen essentially set the pace throughout with coach Jorge Gallent shuffling his rotation with the return of Terrence Romeo and Vic Manuel.

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Romeo, back from a calf issue, played 18 minutes and 20 seconds, and contributed seven points, three assists and one rebound. Manuel chipped in eight markers and two boards in seven minutes of action.

With those outputs by Romeo and Manuel off the bench, the Beermen reserves again beat their Bolts counterparts, 28-15.

Newsome went 12 of 18 from the field and 14 of-15 from the stripe but his effort wasn't enough to carry the Bolts to their desired destination.

Chris Banchero added 21 while Cliff Hodge put in another double-double with 17 and 10.(SB)